Menu items at the brand-new Amy’s Drive-Thru in Rohnert Park sound familiar enough: double cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, and a milkshake, all served lickety-split. But at this earth-friendly fast food eatery topped with a living roof, there’s not an ounce of meat on the grill. California's cows are happy today, indeed.
The fresh concept, from Amy’s Kitchen founders Andy and Rachel Berliner, serves purely vegetarian burgers, burritos, and pizzas with vegan and gluten-free options; almost entirely organic ingredients; and no GMOs. And it gets better: Everything here is made from scratch—from the tofu for the meatless chili to the pasta for the baked mac ‘n’ cheese. And, wait for it...there are even salads.
“I think people really do want to eat this way,” says Andy Berliner, nibbling a crisp french fry (quick fried in sunflower seed oil) made from potatoes grown on Amy’s own fields outside of Bakersfield. “You feel good after, not like a fast food coma.”
The crowd on opening day seemed to agree: Burly men, dainty ladies, kids, and plenty of hipsters lined up to give the veggie fast fare a go. The bestseller? Amy’s Burger—two patties made of veggies, mushrooms and grains, topped with cheese, tomato, onion, Sonoma Brinery pickle, and Fred Sr.’s regular or spicy secret sauce, all on a toasted bun.
The Berliners spent nearly two years perfecting their recipes. The goal: a careful balance of health, flavor, and that good ole drive-thru satisfaction/guilt we all secretly crave. Core recipes draw from the Amy’s Kitchen's international line of packaged and frozen vegetarian foods, but with fresh tweaks and local ingredients like Petaluma’s Clover Stornetta Farms sour cream and tomatoes in the burritos.
For all the pedigree of mostly local, organic ingredients, prices remain fast food–friendly. A single burger can be had for $2.99, or $2.69 without cheese. A big mound of tofu-rich chili cheese fries rings up at $3.49; the amply sized burrito is $4.69; tomato-green onion studded mac ‘n’ cheese is $4.89; and a spinach mozzarella personal pizza runs $6.50.
The most expensive indulgences are the salads. One leafy number, dubbed Sweet, brings a mix of seasonal lettuces, roasted yellow beets, dried cranberries, candied pecans and goat cheese with ranch, balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette at $7.99. The Super, meanwhile, promises your daily dose of quinoa, hummus, tofu, carrots, cabbage and pumpkin seeds for the same price.
The only thing missing is dessert—not even a organic apple pie. But fresh squeezed lemonade provides a sweet jolt, and milkshakes, either non-dairy or made with Sonoma milk, certainly hit the spot. // Amy’s Drive-Thru, 58 Golf Course Drive West, Rohnert Park, Open from 10:30am to 10pm daily, amysdrivethru.com